The New ‘Just 10 Minutes’ Rule
Wednesday - July 13, 2005
Ten minutes could really make or break your entire evening. We’re talking the difference between a peaceful, happy household and a husband sleeping outside with the dog.
Let’s look, for example, at Joe. Joe has a good job and so does his wife Mary. Because Joe works closer to home than Mary does, he often sets up residence on the couch by the time Mary walks through the door. Jeopardy is his favorite pau hana show.
Mary walks in to the sounds of Joe shouting answers at the TV. “What is … pickles!” Joe yells. “What is … the Leaning Tower of Pisa!”
“Hi hon,” Mary says, bending down to give her hubby a kiss on the head.
“Uh-huh,” Joe grumbles, leaning slightly to the side because Mary’s hair is obstructing his view of Alex Trebec.
“How was your day?” Mary continues.
“Mmmm … OK. And yours?” Joe answers, mechanically.
“Well, there was this thing at work,” Mary continues. “Remember how I told you about the big account I was handling? Now there’s a problem with the head guy, who keeps changing his mind about what he wants.”
At this point, Mary looks over at Joe, whose stare is fixed on the flat screen. He’s pushing the button on his imaginary Jeopardy buzzer.
“Hello?!” Mary asks.
No response. “Joe?”
“What is … the San Andreas fault!” Joe screams, pointing a finger at the television.
It is at this very moment that Joe realizes he’s in BIG trouble. He slinks back in his seat, grabbing a couch cushion for protection, as sounds of audience applause resonate from the boob tube.
Mary is quiet for a second before she lets out a big sigh, stands up and asks, “You didn’t hear a thing I said, did you?” Mary already knows the answer. “If it’s not coming from Alex Trebec, I guess you don’t want to listen. I’m happy to know I’m not interesting to you.”
With that Mary disappears into the bedroom. She sits pouting on the bed for a while before Joe gathers the strength to trudge in and try to apologize. What ensues is a half-hour argument about how Joe never listens and Mary is too sensitive.
Now if Joe had followed the “Just 10 Minutes” rule, his evening might have turned out quite differently.
The rule is this: If you men can find it in yourselves to devote just 10 minutes of listening time — and I mean really listening (with the TV turned off) — to your wife or girlfriend when she walks in the door, it’ll do wonders for the rest of your evening.
Many women — but not all of us — like to talk as soon as we get home. We want to connect by sharing our day with you.
Granted, we don’t expect you to be waiting at the door with our bedroom slippers in hand, poised and ready to follow us around the house, hanging on our every word.
If, however, we’re allowed to talk for a bit, without feeling like we’re being ignored or pushed aside, then we can go about our business and let our man go about his.
Because there’s nothing worse than when we come home, excited to talk to you, only to be shut down as soon as we walk in the door. You’re busy watching TV, or you interrupt us mid-sentence to talk about something completely irrelevant to the conversation, like a gecko scurrying up the wall.
It really makes us feel unimportant when you can tune us out so easily. Women just want to feel like the most important thing in the world — not 24 hours a day, but at least for 10 minutes.
My friend Ron Amasol, executive sous chef at the Sheraton Waikiki’s Hanohano Room, introduced me to the concept of the Just 10 Minutes rule, amazingly enough.
A man willing to listen?
That’s crazy talk.
But Ron (who is happily married to wife Jean, and is Dad to 14-month-old daughter Rya) is really onto something good.
Instead of continuing to fight the same losing battle day-in and day-out, he has found a solution that doesn’t take much time, and satisfies his wife’s desire to share her day.
He turns off the TV as soon as she gets home and they sit together on the couch. She talks and he listens.
What a novel concept, huh?
But here’s the catch. You can’t fake those 10 minutes. You must focus. Really pay attention. Be a part of a conversation. For Just 10 Minutes. That’s all it should take.
If you can master that, then it’s fairly certain there will be no pouting, no half-hour fight about the same old thing. She’ll be satisfied, and what have you lost, really? Just 10 minutes. And you’ve gained an entire happy evening.
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